January 30, 2023


Giving your Home a new Option

Courted House by Breakspear Architects

Designed by Breakspear Architects for a pair of avid gardeners and their daughter, the Courted House is a place to pause and escape—where everyday to-dos are swapped for gardening and spending quality time as a family.

Located in a suburban plot west of Sydney, this 2,100-square-foot dwelling reimagines the idea of living in the Australian bush, where the garden is considered to be part of the home. A fresh take on the courtyard house, the home is encircled by walls with a garden at its heart. 

According to the architects, “Courted House is intended to support a lifetime of coexistence between a family, their garden, and the surrounding city.”

The rectangular floor plan is composed of a grid of nine double-height courts that are defined by cedar-clad beams. The courts are similarly sized and can accommodate a variety of uses and furniture arrangements. The central courtyard brings together all of the home’s functions—cooking, eating, and lounging.

The courtyard is the heart of the home. It’s carved out of the building, providing a secluded retreat. 

The courtyard includes a sun-filled deck, plantings, and a small run of stepping stones that lead towards the home’s entry.

The central courtyard is secluded from the busy surrounds. Lined with a landscaped garden, the tall walls frame the sky and form a central point around which daily life revolves. As stated by the architects, “the whole interior becomes a veranda; an outdoor interior of garden and home inextricably one.”

Delicate ferns grow beneath a Myrtle canopy in the courtyard, forming a cool microclimate at the home’s center.

The kitchen fully embraces one edge of the courtyard with a large opening that blurs the boundaries between inside and out.

Quadrants are outlined by cedar-clad bands which slice through the ceiling and extend out to meet the courtyard’s cedar cladding.

Living takes place within, across, and around the central courtyard. Four private courts occupy the plan’s corners, and each has a loft space and opens to the garden. “The client’s request for a ‘retreat’ suggested an escape where architecture, interiors, and landscape could be liberated from hierarchies to become a rich, singular tapestry,” say the architects.

The efficient floor plan eliminates the need for corridors, maintaining seamless connections between and across spaces.

The outer courts are used for bedrooms and studies. Each has its own view of the garden.

Sparse built-in furnishings allow the spaces to be easily reconfigured for different functions. Within the first two years of living here, the owners have used the private courts as bedrooms, home offices, storage, and even as workshops for producing candles and soap for sale.

The interior finish materials are subdued, allowing the garden and sky to shine as focal points. Tall, white planes play with light and shadow, concrete floors ground the home, and cedar cladding wraps the home inside and out.

The rear garden, visible from this living court, includes a vegetable patch, fruit trees, and lawn for plenty of play area.

The exterior treatment is essential to the home’s feeling of privacy. Perforated steel screens and cement panels shield the interior from the surrounding streets. The home’s outer walls are rarely punctured, but when they are it’s in purposeful ways.

Perforated steel screens provide shading and privacy to the interior living spaces. The garden extends from the inner courtyard to the rear yard with open, connected spaces.

Glass blocks allow soft light to enter the kitchen without distracting from the courtyard view. 

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